BT’s £17m boost for Northumberland economy

Farooq Hakim, BT's regional director for the North East.
Farooq Hakim, BT's regional director for the North East.

BT generated £17million for the Northumberland economy in the past year, according to an independent report published today.

The report, by Regeneris Consulting, also shows that the communications company supports more than 6,000 jobs in the North East – of which more than 240 are in Northumberland – through direct employment, its spending with contractors and suppliers and the spending of employees.

In employment terms, BT’s impact in 2014/15 was larger than the region’s civil-engineering sector. Around £51million was spent with regional suppliers.

The overall beneficial financial impact of BT activities is expressed as a Gross Value Added (GVA) contribution. For the North East, the BT GVA totalled £492 million – equivalent to £1 in every £90 of the region’s total GVA – of which £17million was in Northumberland.

Tim Fanning, associate director at Regeneris Consulting, said: “Our analysis confirms the sheer scale and reach of BT’s ongoing economic contribution to the North East and the UK as a whole.

“BT makes a contribution to every community across the UK. At the UK level, £1 in £80 of wealth created is attributable to BT – this is one of the single largest contributions to the UK economy by any firm.”

Farooq Hakim, BT’s regional director for the North East, said: “There are few organisations in the North East that have a larger impact on the day-to-day life and future prospects of the region than BT.

“We are one of the region’s largest private-sector employers and investors – our investment in fibre broadband in the North East alone amounts to hundreds of millions of pounds – and the services that we provide are a vital part of every community.

“The facts and figures shown in this report highlight the full extent of BT’s contribution to the local economy as we go about the daily business of keeping people connected and introducing new technologies, which are creating fresh opportunities and transforming lives.

“Aside from the company’s activities, the report also draws attention to the positive ways BT people are contributing to the communities where they live and work, whether they are a volunteer for a worthy cause or a local shopper.”

In the North East, BT is the major private-sector partner in three broadband partnerships, including iNorthumberland. Through these partnerships and the company’s commercial roll-out, BT has already made fibre broadband available to more than 890,000 North East homes and businesses.

The report also highlights how BT is consistently one of the country’s leading investors in innovation with spending on research and development in the 2014/15 financial year reaching £502million. Among the latest developments, the company has started trials of ultrafast G.fast broadband, which is already delivering download speeds up to 330 megabits per second (Mbps).

This new technology will be rolled out to 10 million UK homes and businesses by the end of 2020 and the majority of premises within a decade.

Volunteering is also a core element of BT’s strategy. Last year, BT staff in the North East contributed more than 2,000 volunteering days to worthy causes, amounting to in-kind support of more than £600,000.

In addition, MyDonate – BT’s commission-free online fund-raising service – has helped to raise more than £50,000 for charities across the North East.

Mr Hakim added: “It’s evident BT people throughout the North East really want to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work. Every day BT employees help millions of people to communicate, do business, be entertained and stay informed.”